Where does the Amazing Race meet baseball? A road trip, of course!
One mom creates a road-trip adventure by combining the reality show and her family's love of baseball
Kim Taylor’s sons, Connor and Griffin, knew only that their family road trip last summer involved the family’s favorite pastime, baseball. But they had no idea the highlights they’d experience along the way.
And then Kim handed them their first clue to an Amazing Race game, Taylor-family style.
“I think at first they thought I was a corny mom for making up all these clues,” says the Longmont, Colo., mom and entrepreneur. “They thought it was so annoying, and then they totally got into it.”
As native New Yorkers, she and husband, Paul, got the idea for a baseball-stadium road trip after a rainout between the Colorado Rockies and their beloved New York Yankees.
Seeing her boys’ disappointment, Kim immediately checked the Yankees’ remaining schedule, and began planning the itinerary that included games in Minneapolis and Milwaukee. And for the finale? A White Sox-Yankees matchup in Chicago.
But she also wanted to add in side trips, which inspired another idea: combine the family’s shared loved of baseball and the around-the-world-adventure reality show, "The Amazing Race.”
“It made something that we were watching together as a family something in real life,” says Paul, an IT Architect, who admits he’s typically a “straight-from-A-to-B” roadtripper on their frequent drives East to visit family.
But Kim’s game broke up the trip, he says, and kept the kids engaged and learning. “It was so much fun.”
With help from RoadsideAmerica.com, an online resource for offbeat tourist attractions, Kim spent the entire night beforehand creating clues that mimicked the show’s: route info, roadblocks and detours.
The first instructed them to travel by car toward Kearney, Neb. “Look up high, like a rainbow in the sky,” it read. “Middle of America is on the road ahead.”
Their stop: the Great Platte River Road Archway, or “The Archway,” a monument that spans Interstate 80 and pays homage to the area’s role in westward expansion.
Other clues led them to the birthplace of Kool-Aid in Hastings, Neb.; a Volkswagen Beetle Spider in Avoca, Iowa; and to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, to view the school’s 15-foot-tall garden gnome in Reiman Gardens—said to be the world’s largest concrete version—a nod to the Travelocity gnome’s partnership with “The Amazing Race."
Each time the boys arrived at a destination, they received a Road Block, or a task they had to complete before continuing the drive. Such exercises included buying a postcard at a gift shop to mail back home or locating something noteworthy, like the giant Golden Glove at the Minnesota Twins’ ball field.
The family’s itinerary also made room for spontaneous stops, like a trip to Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis., the site of Hank Aaron’s professional baseball debut, after a local suggested it during their trip to a logging museum.
Or the ones Kim discovered and printed on the fly because the kids were demanding more. “Where’s our clue? Where’s our clue?” she said they asked at each place.
So much, in fact, that Kim was worn out by the time they reached Chicago.
“That’s when we stopped the clues because there were things I wanted to do,” she says, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier and the Museum of Science and Industry, among other attractions.
Oh, and let’s not forget the baseball games: the Minnesota Twins at Target Field; Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park; Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field—a highlight because it felt like going back in time, Kim says; and the big finish, the U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox vs. the Yankees.
And even though their Yanks lost 4-1, there was one consolation: that night’s promotional gift was a White Sox garden gnome, a final Amazing Race victory for the Taylors.
So after more than 1,100 miles each way—straight through en route home to Colorado—several stops, endless roadside-trivia knowledge and numerous baseball memories, would Kim do it again?
Yes, she says.
“We are planning to visit all of the Major League parks,” Kim says. “Although I think any road trip will include some Amazing Race.”